A reflection on Genesis 1:1-5 & Psalm 29 for ‘The Baptism of Our Lord’ Sunday – January 10, 2021
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:1-5 (NRSVA)
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendour.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29 (NRSVA)
According to Genesis the universe was called into being with a spoken word: ‘Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.’
It is our introduction to the God who speaks. To the God who calls.
The story sets up a primary place for words. We exist – along with everything else – because God spoke. From here we can only be a people who treasure the creative power of God’s word – and our own.
Remember all those commands to tell the truth, name lies, to be a people of prayer, to listen for – and read – the ‘Word of God’. Ours is not just an understanding of the creative voice of God. It also extends to an understanding of the creative potential in our every word.
This shouldn’t surprise. After all, we are created – through YHWH’s spoken word in the ‘image’ – the shape – of a creative God.
The author of Hebrews helpfully reminds us that this God-voice is not limited to reality’s externals. This is a voice that also speaks to the depth of the human soul – and predicament:
…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NRSVA)
As Psalm 29 reminds us, the voice of YHWH is present, powerful, and majestic. It hovers over nations. Penetrates the ‘wilderness’. Is a source of strength and blessing.
So may you – today – have ears to hear.
When do you most clearly hear the voice of God? When are you least likely to recognise this call?
When have you found the ‘Word of God’ to be truly creative?
In John 1:1 Jesus is named as the ‘Word’. How does the above reflection illuminate this name?